BY AMANDA KLOER
The American Chronicle recently dubbed the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, with the dubious honor of being considered America’s most dangerous gang. Often considered the Central-American mafia, MS-13 has not, like some other gangs or organized crime rings, specialized in one form of criminal activity like drug trafficking, money laundering, or extortion. With the motto of “we’ll do any crime, any time”, MS-13 has trafficked humans, guns and drugs; robbed homes and cars; assaulted and killed police officers; and killed for profit, just to name a few activities.
MS-13 is has about 20,000 members across the U.S., and thousands more in Central and South America. It’s estimated that the total worldwide gang membership is in the millions. MS-13 is also considered the fastest-growing, most violent and least understood gang in the world. Some attribute their their criminal success to their flexibility in taking up growing criminal enterprises, like human trafficking. Some attribute it to the U.S.’s myopic focus on terrorism post-911, and the lack of resources applied to monitoring gang activity. Either way, MS-13 is extremely active and dangerous all over the U.S., and especially in California.
And now, MS-13 may be branching into terrorism.
A top al Qaeda lieutenant has met with leaders of M-13 members in an effort by the terrorist network to seek help infiltrating the U.S.-Mexico border, law enforcement authorities said. Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador’s notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang.
This is one of the many reasons I tell people not to directly interfere if they suspect a situation of human trafficking, but rather to call the police or the National Human Trafficking Hotline. All traffickers are dangerous, and MS-13 has been known to be heavily involved with human trafficking in the U.S. and Central America. Providing the resources to effectively combat a gang of this size and flexibility will be a daunting task.